We all rely heavily on our vehicles on a daily basis. This is especially true in the winter months, when it’s too cold to walk, bike, and even take public transit. The problem is that winter temperatures and weather wear more heavily on our vehicles.
To make sure your engine and vehicle run properly throughout the winter months, it’s important take adequate care and make the necessary preparations. Here are a number of tips to make sure that you - and your vehicle - get through this winter without a hitch!
Any vehicle you get will come with all-season tires. Despite their name, these tires are suited for everyday driving on clear, dry roads. They aren’t designed to provide grip and traction on roads that are covered in snow or ice though. When the cold months approach, it’s a good idea to trade out your all-season tires for winter or snow tires.
Snow tires will give your vehicle better traction, ensuring that you have more control over of your vehicle and that you can bring your vehicle to a stop faster and under worse conditions. The more control you have while steering and maneuvering your vehicle, the safer you’ll be on the road.
Whether or not you change your tires during the cold weather, you will undoubtedly need to check your tire pressure. Every time the temperature drops 10 degrees, your tire pressure drops by approximately a pound. This means that it is essential that you check - and adjust - your tire pressure when the weather finally gets cold.
Don’t get to anxious about it and change it too early, as this can be just as bad if the temperature hasn’t dropped. Wait for the weather to start changing and then adjust accordingly.
While it may seem obvious that the battery is important for keeping your engine running, it is commonly neglected when it comes to care and maintenance. Taking care of your battery during the winter is one of the most important things to do, because, well, your car won’t start without it.
More than just checking the actually battery itself, make sure to check the connections to your battery as well. If there is a lot of corrosion or connections that no longer seem strong, you may want to consider fixing these issues before the cold comes. Even the newest, most cold-resistant battery will have trouble running throughout the winter with faulty connections.
Consider having your battery - and the connections - checked before the winter season in order to make sure it’s operating at peak efficiency. Ensure that you have a battery suited to the climate in which you live so that it will hold up to the stress and strain of the colder temperatures.
Keep Your Car in the Garage
Despite the joys of having a man cave or workshop in your garage, starting your engine in a warm room rather than the frigid outdoors can take a lot of the strain off of your engine. By keeping your vehicle inside the garage - even without a door - will help keep your vehicle warmer, ensuring that it’s easier to start your vehicle.
More than ensuring your car will run smoother, this also saves you from having to scrape your windows clear of ice and - more importantly - a cold seat!
Wash, Wax, and Coat Your Vehicle
Cold weather, salt, and snow storms all have a terrible effect on our vehicles, causing far more wear and tear than usual. In order to protect your vehicle during the winter months, you’ll want to make sure that you wash and wax your vehicle prior to the harsh winter weather.
Snow and ice accumulates in the cracks and crevices of your vehicle, getting between parts and slowly eating away at your parts, causing oxidation and rust. Over time, these can greatly damage parts of your vehicle and even the structure of your vehicle. Establishing a protective coating before the winter weather hits your car is essential for protecting your vehicle throughout the season.
More than that, you’ll want to clean your vehicle more regularly in the winter than in the summer, as snow, ice, and salt all collect on your vehicle. Be sure to clean the undercarriage, since this is where salt will collect the most, as it is kicked up from the road on the bottom of your car.
Fluids: Your Car’s Life Blood
Protecting your engine during the winter weather is just as vital as protecting the coating of your car. Make sure you add antifreeze/coolant to your vehicle at the start of winter, fill your windshield washer fluid, and check your engine’s oil.
While your car may still run well in the warmer months without these updates, operating your vehicle like this in the winter months will put a lot of strain on your engine. This can lead to worse wear and tear and could even cause you to break down on the side of the road. When there’s knee-high snow and sheets of ice, this isn’t want anybody wants. By preparing properly for the upcoming season, you’ll be sure to avoid these hazards and travel safely.
Things to Keep With You
Now that you’ve prepared your vehicle for the winter, make sure to prepare for everything else the winter will throw at you and your car. Make yourself a winter care kit for your care so that you always have the tools and resources to get yourselves out of any situation winter storms may throw at you on the road!
Here’s a list of things we suggest you keep in your car at all times, just in case:
Never leave home without a coat!
Mittens / Boots (something to keep your feet and hands warm!)
Small shovel (to dig yourself out)
Cell phone charger or external battery